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Help EAA's Berlin Express

By Megan Esau

July 26, 2016 - AirVenture attendees have the chance to contribute to an iconic part of aviation history by supporting the restoration of EAA’s B-25 Mitchell, The Berlin Express.

The B-25 Mitchell flew a critical role in World War II, particularly helping the Allies turn the tables in their favor in the Pacific theater. Sixteen B-25s were launched from the USS Hornet and bombed Tokyo during the Doolittle Raid.

“It gave people this big boost of we can do this, we can band together and win this war,” said Chris Henry, EAA’s museum programs representative. “It was the first taste of victory for America.”

EAA’s B-25 played three roles in the aviation classic film, Catch 22, starring as The Berlin Express, the general’s airplane, and one of the syndicates. In addition to the airplane’s current restoration, EAA will be returning its B-25 to the Berlin Express paint scheme it wore in the film.

What makes the history of the B-25 even more special is that many were built by Rosie the Riveter women and then transported by the women of WASP from factories to bases.

“During the war everybody pulled together to do their part to defeat the Axis,” Henry said. “Even if you weren’t in the military you were still fighting the war in your own way, whether it was in a factory, whether it was at home with a victory garden, whether it was war rations, anything like that, everyone fought in World War II.”

He said through volunteer work and the gathering of donations, the B-25 restoration project hopes to evoke the World War II spirit of people coming together to reach a common goal. 

Visitors to AirVenture can donate to the project at the booth located near the communications center along the flightline. The B-25 Donation Drive giving levels are $10 for a replica war bond, $20 for a replica war bond and decal, and $50 for a replica war bond, decal, and hat. The giving of war bonds is another important aspect being carried over to the B-25 restoration from World War II.

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